Infinity in the bagel is a fact; one loop continually shaped by a baker’s hands, extending into a home, a table, with a dab of butter. Its inspiration is also found with each folding of a stomach, the semblance in donut-hole navel painting the fat-bellied creator with each bite.
I’ve not been in my own kitchen this Christmas. It’s been a scurrying back and forth between people’s houses who are putting me up during the holiday break. Dragging my massive suitcase through mounds of snow, because as it appears, God is seeking to punish all foreigners from tropical lands living abroad. By dumping a foot of snow down on us every 12 hours.
Every activity is an obstacle course in this weather. Especially dragging suitcases down icy outdoor stairs.
But I digress. Many wonderful foodie things happened this Christmas. First, someone’s family member remembered I looooved this sweet potato pecan dish, and made it just for me.
Second, I got to read a couple of foodie books, for FUN. Including Luisa Weiss’ My Berlin Kitchen. Part of it is like, boohoo Luisa, you grew up eating endives not Cheesewhiz, and had all of these overly perfect love-affairs, so stop whining. But she is really good at describing food. And making it sentimental so…I had some moments of reflection staring out the window, thinking what the hell am I doing in this snowy foreign land? I should go back to my roots! etc etc.
But in between all this, I tucked myself away in a friend’s kitchen to make something and it was home-made bagels. There’s like 2,000 steps to bagel-making and I thought, “This’ll be fun, for SURE I will screw it up”
This time, I did NOT screw up. In fact, I even timed the kneading of the dough.
This is an awesome recipe and for once I felt like the effort in making something at home paid off. These bagels taste great. In the original video, the lady had made a spicy jalapeno bagel, and now that I know the recipe works I’ll be adding all kinds of toppings.
One last thought. I don’t know if bread-making is common, but if you haven’t done it, it’s quite meditative. It’s a silent, lovely, technical endeavour. Post-“holidaze”, feeling discombobulated by all the push and pull of meeting new people, infiltrating others’ families, the general hoopla of being cordial and merry and social, these bagels were sheer therapy.
If you have a thing about slapping food, which I do, dough is a fantastic partner for your food fetish pursuits. I mean, the smoother that ball of dough looks, the more it feels like you’re rubbing a Buddha’s bald head, and spanking a baby’s bottom, and poking holes in like, a weird putty clay. All the weird sensory-perception deviant behaviour you’ve been closeting, repressing the urge to perform it with clay in high school art class, well… This is your moment.